As Waterford grows and evolves, we also feel it is important to be rooted in tradition. Our traditions center around our students; whether students are in the Lower, Middle, or Upper School, traditions bring the Waterford community together for moments of joy and reflection. Traditions new and old celebrate our core values and instill a sense of community spirit and pride in our students.
Essential to success at Waterford is the collaboration and partnership we have with our students' families. We nurture this partnership every year through Family Visiting Days. Family members are invited to spend days on campus to learn alongside their children and grandchildren. Visiting Days include:
Mothers Visiting Day
Fathers Visiting Day
Grandparents Visiting Day
The goal of the Community Service program at Waterford is to offer every student an opportunity to experience hands-on community service and to assist students in defining the world anew.
Community Service benefits those who are being helped as well as those who are performing the service. Service enriches the lives our students by expanding their world views and creating opportunities for them to cultivate empathy for others. Additionally, service projects create a canopy of relationships that can bridge communities.
Our Community Service program serves local, national, and international communities. Waterford students are responsible for spearheading initiatives and projects of personal interest. Through these projects, students learn about other people and cultures. Activities throughout the year include working with TreeUtah, The International Rescue Committee, trips to the Navajo Reservation and Kolkata, India, working with the Odyssey House, collecting goods for the Utah Food Bank and for The Road Home, and many other ongoing activities.
Waterford's Lunch Lecture Series was established as a forum for students and faculty to welcome an array of speakers to help spur discussion and debate around global and timely issues. On Wednesdays throughout the school year, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas come to campus to share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to have a lunch, listen and engage with presenters, ask questions and debate points of view.
Waterford students look forward to fun, annual social events throughout the school year. These events give students a chance to take a break from schoolwork and socialize with their peers. Some of our most popular annual events include:
Each year, Waterford students navigate the school year through the context of a school theme. This year's theme, "Aspire," encourages students to push beyond self-imposed limitations and reach for hopes and ambitions. Aspiration, when accompanied by patience and persistence, results in learning and growth that is as important as the achievement. As stated in our mission, Waterford endeavors to help students understand that “there is no end to learning, nor is it itself an end. Rather, learning is the means by which mankind acquires the nobility of a well-lived life.” This enduring ideal of aspiration leads to a life of boundless opportunity and fulfillment.
An honored tradition at the Waterford School occurs on Class Day, when our seniors receive their "Senior Sweaters." These green sweaters are only worn by our graduating class and are easily recognizable across campus as a symbol of seniority.
The focal point of our stunning, 40-acre campus is our Main Quad. With an unrivaled view of the Wasatch Mountains and Little Cottonwood Canyon, our Main Quad serves as an inspirational space for recreation and quiet contemplation. On warm days, our students flock to the Main Quad to play games, eat lunch with friends, or catch up on homework. On wintry days, the quad is used for cross-country skiing, building snowmen, or avalanche safety coursework. Regardless of the season, a walk across the quad between classes is enough to reinvigorate and wake up our students for their next learning opportunity.
Waterford's liberal arts education does not end with our academic curriculum. Music is an integral part of our student's lives at Waterford. In Kindergarten, our students begin vocal and keyboard lessons. By the time students enter Middle School, they have experienced playing wind, string, and percussion instruments. Many students continue to play an instrument throughout Middle and Upper School, working closely with our talented music faculty to become practiced and proficient musicians. Several times a year, our band, orchestra, and Jazz students come together to perform for the Waterford community and beyond. These concerts celebrate student musical achievement and Waterford's dedication to the Arts.
The Waterford Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools gather regularly to celebrate individual and collective accomplishments, share announcements, and learn about members of our diverse community at School Assemblies. These assemblies set aside time for our students to congregate with their peers and to hear news and stories from faculty and students.
On Monday and Wednesday mornings, the Upper School Student Body President kicks off an assembly for Grades IX-XII. Students make announcements about their courses, clubs, activities, artistic pursuits and athletic teams as well as hear from guest speakers. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, the Middle School students are led by Middle School Dean Nancy Nebeker in a similar gathering. The Lower School gathers students 2-3 times per month for short and active performances and events.
Waterford's Performing Arts program develops students' voices and provides a space for self-expression. Beginning in the Lower School, students are first introduced to performance through vocal lessons, the re-telling of Aesops fables, and parades. Later, as students move through the Middle School and Upper School, they can engage in our Performing Arts curriculum through classes and performances. With three theatrical productions a year, Waterford offers opportunities for thespians of all experience levels to play a role in a drama or comedy.
At Waterford, there is a great sense of pride and excitement on game days. We amplify this excitement through tailgates before important games. Parents, students and faculty come together to cheer on our Ravens teams.
History comes alive for our Lower School students through special days at the end of humanities units. During these special class days, our students take their in-class curriculum into an experiential environment. Students embody historical figures by dressing in costume and participating in activities and games related to their studies.
Once per month, The Waterford Lower School holds a reading night, a special time for students and families to celebrate the joy of reading at home. Students are not given any homework on this night so they can focus on reading on their own, reading to parents, or being read to. Our Waterford parents and Lower School students look forward to this night.
Friday Night Live is a well-attended Upper School tradition where students prepare and perform acts for their classmates. Over the years, they have done skits, musical numbers, stand-up comedy, and karate demonstrations, all met with lots of laughing and cheering. Waterford students are as proud to show off their talents as they are to support their peers.
This is a story telling night that is a beautiful blending of intimacy and hilarity facilitated by the honest vulnerability that is presented by each storyteller. Teachers and students are invited to tell meaningful and personal stories. Teachers listen while students share unexpected stories of growth and rebellion and loss; just as well, students revel in the personal narratives of their teachers. The purpose of the night is to spread empathy throughout a community that shares an educational space, yet not as often, a personal one. Those who participated did so bravely and created a culture of, if not long-lasting, momentary non-heirarchy. This story telling event allows a platform for students and teachers to share and appreciate momentous moments and also provides a platform to work on public speaking and the craft of storytelling.
Each summer, rising Class IX students have the opportunity to experience the Class IX Retreat with their classmates, Waterford faculty, recent alumni, and Class XII student leaders. These trips are most often based in our neighboring Wasatch Mountains where students have the opportunity to bond as a class, learn from each other and from faculty members, and experience some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world. We strongly encourage students to participate in this amazing and formative experience.